Faithful Action for Justice December 2021

News and opportunities from our mission teams




Faithful Action for Justice


Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ


December 2021

Welcome to Faithful Action for Justice Announcements, messages from ORUCC’s Justice missions (Care of Creation, Immigration Justice, Heart Room, Racial Justice, Christian Witness and Service).


Nobody can do everything. Saying yes to some things requires saying no to others. Our health and obligations limit us. As you read, briefly celebrate and pray for people doing something you will not join. As you feel called, reach out to a project’s contact person to learn more, and consider joining or click on links to read more.


News from Our Mission Teams and Groups


One Step Forward


One of the families in ORUCC’s Heart Room program has taken a big step forward into a larger apartment. Seven ORUCC members have big smiles (and maybe a few back pains!) after helping them move. Read more.



Housing Assistance


ORUCC has several programs providing housing assistance for people in Southwest Madison sponsored by our ministry of Christian Witness and Service including Keeping Neighbors Connected and the Southwest Madison Action Coalition. Read More



The Immigration Justice team sponsored a letter writing campaign to encourage passage of immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship. A hundred letters from ORUCC members were delivered to Wisconsin federal legislators along with letters from other Dane Sanctuary Coalition congregations. Key immigration provisions were included in the Build Back Better Act which passed the House of Representatives on December 6, 2021 and was sent to the Senate for consideration. You can read more about the provisions in the bill and hat next steps in this article from the American Immigration Lawyers Association: “Featured Issue: Immigration Reforms through Budget Reconciliation.”


Jane Ilgen fund update


Jane Ilgen established her legacy project to provide books and literacy support to local African-American children and strengthen partnerships between ORUCC and community partners in Southwest Madison. In addition to memorials in Jane’s honor, ORUCC members contributed generously to the fund through last December’s compassion offering.


After assessing options, an ad-hoc team connected with RISE WI, a local agency that incorporates literacy activities among their support to families with young children. The Ilgen Fund will provide new books that RISE staff can utilize during home visits, as well as give directly to children they serve. These books will primarily be written by authors of color and center Black and Brown characters, cultures, and stories. There will be more news about the future of the fund in January. If you have a passion for social justice and children’s literacy and/or are curious to learn more, please contact Jen Walker. And stay tuned! 


What kinds of racial justice programs would interest you?


The Racial Justice Mission Team wants to know what types of programs about racial justice issues you might want us to put on in 2022. We’ve prepared a short survey to help us plan.


Click here to take the short survey about racial justice programs


A Climate Change Christmas Carol

The Care of Creation Mission Team appreciates this message, printed as an op ed in the Wisconsin State Journal.  

Was it a dream, or were those visits from climate ghosts real? With the “Ghost of Climate Past,” we visited a past Wisconsin winter and saw smiling children making snow angels. Research hinted greenhouse gas emissions would warm the planet, but nothing seemed urgent. Touring with the “Ghost of Climate Present” was distressing. The ghost took us to charred forests, parched land and rivers flooding streets. Young people with futures at stake were demonstrating for climate action. When touring with the “Ghost of Climate Yet to Come,” this ghost maintained a silent presence as he showed us frightening scenes of cities engulfed by the ocean and stranded refugees. We pleaded for an answer, “Can we change outcomes with action?” To maintain a habitable planet, scientists estimate greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced 50% by 2030. Proposed “Build Back Better” legislation has incentives and tax credits for reducing carbon emissions. But one missing item would be a fee on carbon and a dividend to taxpayers. The other missing item may be senators and representatives with courage to respond. Perhaps ghosts rattling chains in concert with our voices can scare up needed votes.

Thanks to ghostly ideas in “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. (Steve Reusser, Eau Claire)


Local issues around schools and safety


Members of the racial justice mission team have been attending meetings organized by community groups around school issues. ORUCC RJMT member Pam Oliver has attended meetings about the fight at East High and concerns about maintaining safe schools and helping children resolve conflicts without police in schools. ORUCC RJMT member Karen Jaehnig has been attending meetings about protecting schools from campaigns trying to force schools to lie to students about US history under the guise of opposing “critical race theory.” ORUCC member Dan Rossmiller spoke at a recent meeting to explain the political nature of these attacks and how they have affected Wisconsin schools.


Opportunities for Action or Service



We are looking for a few people to help edit this Faith in Action newsletter. We are using very simple tools (Google docs and/or Microsoft Word). If you have regular access to a computer and Internet and can spend 1-4 hours a month on the project, contact Pam Oliver [email protected]


Information About Local Groups


ORUCC is a member of Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice which sponsors the Dane Sanctuary Coalition and other community projects. Read more about WFVJ


MOSES is a mixed-race group that brings a faith-based approach and an emphasis on racial justice to local issues including incarceration, policing, education, and children’s needs. If you are interested in learning more about this, contact Pam Oliver [email protected]


The racial justice mission team has compiled a list of local organizations that are led by Black people or other people of color and a list of other local anti-racist organizations. We plan to write short descriptions of them in coming newsletters.


About our Missions


Click here to read more about our Justice Mission teams and projects: Care of Creation (contact Sara Roberts), Immigration Justice (contact Ruthanne Landness), Racial Justice (contact Pam Oliver), Heart Room and Housing Justice (contact Helene Nelson). These mission teams are looking for new members. Reach out to learn more if you are interested. Our ministry of Christian Witness and Service (contact Ken Psyck) also sponsors justice activities.


Let us love and care for ourselves and each other as we work together for justice and mercy.


Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justice now. Love mercy now. Walk humbly now. You are not required to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. (Rabbi Rami Shapiro’s poetic translation of a Talmudic commentary on Micah.)

Orchard Ridge UCC | Spiritually Alive, Joyfully Inclusive, Committed to Justice, 1501 Gilbert Road, Madison, WI 53711